Megaupload one of the biggest file sharing website had been shut down by US Federal prosecutors for violating piracy laws. I wonder is it due to SOPA and PIPA? It's kinda weird to me, how did they close down a website without going to the court. Here's the news about How US Federal Prosecutors shut down Megaupload. RIP Megaupload (2005-2012).
The New York Times reports that the company – which, according to the indictment filed by federal prosecutors in Virginia, America, was at one point the 13th most popular website in the world – has been closed down and its founders have been charged.
Prosecutors claim that the service has cost copyright holders more than $500 million (£320 million) in lost revenue, although Megaupload claim that they have always been diligent in dealing with any complaints regarding pirated material.
Megaupload is considered a "cyberlocker," in which users can upload and transfer files that are too large to send by email. Such sites can have perfectly legitimate uses. But the Motion Picture Association of America, which has campaigned for a crackdown on piracy, estimated that the vast majority of content being shared on Megaupload was in violation of copyright laws.
The BBC, meanwhile, reports that the criminal charges stemming from the case include copyright infringement, conspiracies to commit racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering. The FBI have also reportedly seized more than $50 million (£32 million) in assets and have executed more than 20 search warrants in nine countries.
However, before it was closed down, Megaupload issued a statement reading: "The fact is that the vast majority of Mega's internet traffic is legitimate, and we are here to stay.
"If the content industry would like to take advantage of our popularity, we are happy to enter into a dialogue. We have some good ideas. Please get in touch."
The site boasted 150 million registered users and about 50 million hits daily. The Justice Department said it was illegal for anyone to download pirated content, but their investigation focused on the leaders of the company, not end users who may have downloaded a few movies for personal viewing.
Earlier this week, several websites including Wikipedia temporarily closed down in order to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the proposal from US Congress which aims to thwart online piracy.
I hope that we won't live in a world without free knowledge just like what wikipedia wrote on their site to strike against SOPA and PIPA several days ago.
Further reading about Megaupload founders at Cnet.com and cio.com.au